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Distribution systems move water from a source or a water treatment plant to the people who consume it. In this age of booming populations, growing water demand, and shrinking sources, these systems are more crucial than ever before.

Water distribution requires infrastructure. This infrastructure can range from complex pipe systems to the simplest of water containers. All infrastructure, from the simplest to the most complex, have associated costs. Moreover, water in any distribution system may become contaminated if sources are not properly protected and monitored, treatment plants are not properly operated, or infrastructure is not maintained.

Although they share the same basic function, distribution systems vary greatly from culture to culture, from one economic stratum to the next, and from great cities to humble villages.

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